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Graduate Admissions

The OGE has been a leader in the movement of US graduate schools removing the GRE as a requirement for applying to our PhD program. In looking at PhD students’ admissions applications and productivity measurements, we found that the general GRE is an ineffective predictive tool. Around 300 biomedical science PhD programs now no longer require the GRE as part of the application process.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Hall JDO’Connell ABCook JG. (2017) Predictors of student productivity in biomedical graduate school applications. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169121.

Graduate Education

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Van Wart A, Djoric D, D’Silva NM, Layton RHardy L, Suelzer E, Tetzlaff JE. (2023) An emerging field: An evaluation of biomedical graduate student and postdoctoral education and training research across seven decades. PLoS ONE.

Book Chapters

Layton RL, Hall JD, Hall SM. (2020) Planning, goal-setting, and sticking to it. In: Scientific Writing: A guide to the essentials – Workshop Manual. Eds: Erwin A, Layton RL, Stember KG, Johnson J, Collu G, Hall SM.

Layton RL, Hall JD, Hall SM. (2020) Working through challenges and solutions to time management and motivation. In: Scientific Writing: A guide to the essentials – Workshop Manual. Eds: Erwin A, Layton RL, Stember KG, Johnson J, Collu G, Hall SM.

Layton RL*, Stember KG*. (2020) Ethics of academic authorship and publication. In: Scientific Writing: A guide to the essentials – Workshop Manual. Eds: Erwin A, Layton RL, Stember KG, Johnson J, Collu G, Hall SM.

Career Development for PhD Students & Postdocs

Since 2006, the UNC Training Initiatives in Biomedical and Biological Sciences has been providing workshops and trainings to give students a full and rewarding graduate school experience and to prepare for a satisfying career. In 2014 TIBBS expanded significantly thanks to a 5-year, $1.8 million grant from the NIH known as the BEST Award, which stands for Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training. UNC was one of only 7 universities that received one of these awards. The new funds have helped us provide immersive training opportunities for a wide array of careers in addition to preparation for the traditional academic research track. That’s why we call it the Immersion Program to Advance Career Training, or ImPACT. The BEST Award has allowed us to expand our offerings for trainees, providing innovative career exploration, training, and experiential learning opportunities at UNC as part of 17 schools funded nationwide to help prepare trainees for fulfilling and exciting careers.

The OGE has also studied transferable skills and job satisfaction among science PhDs. We found particular skills gaps between graduate education and careers and proposed a training model to shrink these gaps.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Chatterjee D, Jacob GA, Varvayanis SS, Wefes I, Chalkley R, Nogueira AT, Fuhrmann CN, Varadarajan J, Hubbard NM, Gaines CHLayton RL, Chaudhary S. (2023) Career self-efficacy disparities in underrepresented biomedical scientist trainees. PLoS ONE.

Brandt P, Varvayanis SS, Baas T, Bolgioni-Smith A, Alder J, Petrie KA, Dominguez I, Brown AM, Stayart CA, Singh H, Van Wart A, Chow CS, Mathur A, Schreiber BM, Fruman DA, Bowden B, Holmquist CE, Arneman D, Hall JD, Hyman LE, Gould KL, Chalkley R, Brennwald PJ, & Layton R. (2021) A cross-institutional analysis of the effects of broadening trainee professional development on research productivity. PLoS Biology 19(7): e3000956.

Layton RL, Solberg VSH, Jahangir AE, Hall JD, Ponder CA, Micoli KJ, & Vanderford NL. (2020) Career planning courses increase career readiness of graduate and postdoctoral trainees. F1000Research 9: 1230.

Collins TRL, Hoff K, Starback M, Brandt PD, Holmquist CE, Layton RL. (2020) Creating and sustaining collaborative multi-institutional industry site visit programs: a toolkit. F1000Research 9: 1317.

Van Wart A, O’Brien TC, Varvayanis S, Alder J, Greenier J, Layton RL, Stayart CA, Wefes I, Brady AE. (2020) Applying experiential learning to career development training for biomedical graduate students and postdocs: perspectives on program development and design. CBE-LSE 19(es7): 1-12.

Stayart CA, Brandt PD, Brown AM, Dahl T, Layton RL, Petrie KA, Flores-Kim EN, Peña CG, Fuhrmann CN, Monsalve GC. (2020) Applying inter-rater reliability to improve consistency in classifying PhD career outcomes. F1000Research 9: 8.

Sinche M*, Layton RL*Brandt PDO’Connell ABHall JDFreeman AMHarrell JRCook JCBrennwald PJ. (2017) An evidence-based evaluation of transferrable skills and job satisfaction for science PhDs. PLoS ONE 12(9): 30185023.

Layton RLBrandt PDFreeman AMHarrell JRHall JD, Sinche M. (2017) Diversity exiting the academy: influential factors for the career choice of well-represented and underrepresented minority scientists. CBE-LSE 15 (ar41): 1-9.

Book Chapters

Layton RL, Brandt PD, Brennwald PJ. (2020) Implementation of a career cohort model at UNC Chapel Hill: Benefits to students, programs, and institutions. BEST: Implementing Career Development Activities for Biomedical Research Trainees. San Diego: Academic Press, pp 183-197.


SCISIBIO: Training the Next Generation of Scientific Leaders- Professional Development, Mental Health, & Mentoring, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, September 2020-August 2024, PI: Layton RL.

UNC Immersion Program to Advance Career Training (ImPACT), National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, September 2014-August 2020, PIs: Brennwald PJ, Brandt PD, Cook JG, Hopper E.

Popular Media Writings


Mental Health

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Schad A, Layton RL, Ragland D, Cook JG. (2022) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Mental health in medical and biomedical doctoral students during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and racial protests. eLife.


Book Chapters

Harrell JR, O’Connell AB. (2020) Mentoring: how to get the guidance you need. In: Scientific Writing: A guide to the essentials – Workshop Manual. Eds: Erwin A, Layton RL, Stember KG, Johnson J, Collu G, Hall SM.

Popular Media Writings

Fostering an Inclusive Research Environment

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Hall JD, Harrell JRCohen KWMiller VLPhelps PV, Cook JG. (2016) Preparing postbaccalaureates for entry and success in biomedical PhD programs. CBE-LSE 15(3): ar27.


Administrative Supplement on Creating Safe and Equitable Training Environments, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, March 2020-February 2021

UNC PREP in the Biomedical Sciences, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, March 2010-March 2023, PI: Robinson DL.

UNC Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, September 1996-February 2024, PI: Cook JG.